Thousands of migrants have risked their lives this year, fleeing conflict and instability in Africa and the Middle East, often in small and overcrowded vessels in an attempt to reach European territories. The majority of migrants have made Italy their destination, as the Libyan Coast is only 1,776 kilometres away from Italy.
The vast majority of migrants trying to reach Italy are coming from nations like Eretria, Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria. In comparison, last year, refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq fled to Europe by travelling through Turkey, making Greece their destination. The shifting expansion of migrants has prompted crisis for the Italian navy and coast guard as they are struggling to face this developing issue. The Italian Coast Guard recently commented that they had rescued more than 4,000 migrants last Thursday in one the most difficult days of the Libyan Coast migrant crisis.
“That probably is a record,” said the Italian coast guard spokesman Cosimo Nicastro, mentioning that rescue operations would have been in the range of 5000 to 6000 persons over a two day span.
However, within the same week the Guardian reported on Sunday that over 100 other migrants are missing after another a boat sank last Wednesday. The U.N high Commissioner for Refugees recently stated that at least 700 migrants had drowned last week whilst moving through the Mediterranean Sea to Italy.
Barbara Molinario, Spokeswoman of the U.N refugee agency in Italy, suggested that the weather conditions in May to October had often encouraged migrants in crossing.
But the death toll of migrants at sea has decreased this year compared to 2015. According to the U.N high Commissioner for Refugees, an estimate of 3,800 migrants died or vanished at sea during their passage to Europe in 2015. But this year, after accounting for the recent sunk ships, the number stands at 2,000.
The International Organisation of Migration (IOM) stated that between the 700,000 and 1 million migrants who live in Libya and hail from African Countries are struggling with poverty and conflict. Spokesman of the IOM, Joel Millman applauded the efforts in Greece which had led to more coast guard presence now in Libya.
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- European Leaders Blamed For Refugee Deaths In The Mediterranean - November 12, 2016